The good news for Astana this week was that Michele Scarponi earned the team its first win of the season at what has proved to be a very intriguing Giro d’Italia-warm up Tour of the Alps, the rebranded Giro del Trentino. The victory and one-day race lead bodes well for Astana’s main man at the Giro.

The bad news is that two and a half months after he belted Quick Step’s Marcel Kittel during February Dubai Tour, the squad’s Ukrainian rider Andriy Grivko has been suspended for 45-days, the UCI announced Thursday. The suspension is active from May 1 to June 14.

The incident, which occurred on February 2, leaving Kittel bloody, led to the race jury booting Grivko from the race.

There was a subsequent brief war of words in which Kittel said he wouldn’t accept an apology from Astana and Grivko, Grivko claimed that Kittel was acting aggressively and spat at him, Kittel called for a six-month ban, Astana and Grivko apologized, and the Twittersphere responded with its usual measured reactions.

Grivko has raced 17-days since the incident and was penciled in for the Tour de Romandie stage race starting April 25. His last race was coming 136th in Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne. Kittel won the Dubai Tour and three races since then including the Scheldeprijs on April 5.


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